Higher Education Quick Takes
A panel charged with studying the large and growing athletics deficit at the University of Maryland at College Park plans to recommend that the university eliminate 8 of its 27 sports teams, The Washington Post reported. The Post cited a source with firsthand knowledge of the report by the committee appointed by President Wallace D. Loh in July, which is charged with finding ways to raise revenue and cut costs to deal with a deficit that sits at $4.7 million now but could triple by 2017 without meaningful changes.
According to the Post, the commission will recommend ending five men's (indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, cross country, swimming and diving, and tennis) and three women's (swimming and diving, water polo and aerobics and tumbling) teams, which would take Maryland from four squads over the average for the Atlantic Coast Conference to four below. The recommendations would go to Loh, who could cut fewer or -- if recent history at other institutions is a guide -- challenge alumni to raise money to keep some of the teams alive.
High school students can benefit by considering "career clusters" and the education they require to succeed, says a new report issued Monday by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. The report argues that while there will be some jobs in the future for which only a high school diploma is required, those positions will be few and far between -- and will have limited advancement potential. The clusters in which students are likely to see the greatest number of jobs and advancement potential require a college education, the report says.
The University of California Board of Regents announced Monday that it is postponing meetings planned for Wednesday and Thursday at the university's San Francisco campus because of security concerns. A statement from the board said that university security officials asked the board not to meet. "From various sources they had received information indicating that rogue elements intent on violence and confrontation with UC public safety officers were planning to attach themselves to peaceful demonstrations expected to occur at the meeting," the statement said. "They believe that, as a result, there is a real danger of significant violence and vandalism. They have advised us further that this violence could place at risk members of the public, students lawfully gathered to voice concerns over tuition levels and any other issues, and the UCSF community, including patients, public safety officers, UC staff and neighbors of UCSF Mission Bay."
Student groups who were planning nonviolent protests condemned the decision to call off the meeting. "Today’s decision raises serious questions about the commitment to an open, accountable decision-making process by the regents -- many who are the 1 percent," said a statement from the ReFund California Coalition. "Furthermore, it is outrageous that the Board of Regents would attempt to dismiss the serious efforts of thousands of students and other peaceful demonstrators to refund public education and essential services by insinuating that our cause is motivated by violence. Only the police, acting under the direction of campus authorities subordinate to the Regents, have instigated violence on UC campuses -- not the thousands of peaceful demonstrators who seek solutions to the urgent crisis of higher education in California."
Patrick Witt, Yale University's star quarterback, has withdrawn his application for a Rhodes Scholarship, citing his desire to play "the Game" against Harvard University on Saturday, Reuters reported. Witt's Rhodes interview was scheduled for the same day, but he opted to focus on the football game against Yale's arch-rival. In an interview last week, Witt noted that “in the description of the Rhodes, leadership is a major facet of who they select as candidates and finalists,” and that "in some ways, if I were to attend the interview and miss the game, I wouldn’t be acting as the leader that they selected to interview."
Gabor Lukacs has agreed to leave his position as a mathematics professor at the University of Manitoba, and to drop litigation against the university, ending a messy dispute between Lukacs and the institution, The Globe and Mail reported. Lukacs was suspended after he spoke out against the awarding of a Ph.D. to a student who did not pass his qualifying exam, and who said that he suffered from exam anxiety. While the university defended the Ph.D. process as legitimate and as reflecting help for a legitimate disability, Lukacs spoke out, saying that the university was hurting its academic reputation.
Several colleges are seeing tensions and debates over Occupy protest movements on their campuses.
- Harvard University has restricted access to Harvard Yard to university students, preventing many others from joining an Occupy Harvard movement. The university says that it acted to assure student safety and not for political reasons. Organizers of Occupy Harvard and some faculty members say that the university is overreacting and that it could safely restore full access to the campus.
- At the University of California at Berkeley, authorities are vowing to prevent tent cities from being set up, and are defending arrests made Wednesday night to take down tents that the university said were not authorized, The San Jose Mercury News reported. But many faculty members and others who support Occupy Cal say that the university used inappropriate force against a nonviolent protest movement.
- Officials at Seattle Central Community College are frustrated with the Occupy Seattle movement, which set up its tents on campus, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. College officials say that they don't think they have the legal right to kick the protest off the campus, but are concerned that since the protest arrived, the college has had to deal with increased trash (including some dirty needles), the theft of soap from campus bathrooms and the arrival of people with mental illness, some of whom have been attracted to the protests.
The Citadel on Saturday issued a statement in which it said that it investigated but did not report an allegation it received in 2007 that a summer camp counselor who was a cadet had inappropriate sexual activity with a camper in 2002 in a Citadel summer program. The statement said that the charges could not be corroborated and that the family of the camper was very concerned about its privacy. Nonetheless, the Citadel statement said, the institution has "regret that we did not pursue this matter further." The statement noted that the cadet -- Louis ReVille -- "was a highly respected cadet whose peers elected him chairman of the Honor Court, and at graduation he was presented the award for excellence in public service."
ReVille went on to become a coach and educator and worked with many schoolchildren in South Carolina until his arrest last month on charges of sexually assaulting five boys, The Post and Courier reported. More charges are expected. The Post and Courier filed an open records request last week for material related to the 2007 Citadel investigation of ReVille.
A new report available for purchase from the British Council argues that students in different parts of the world have notably different motivations for using agents to help them find colleges and universities in the United States, Britain, Australia and elsewhere to attend. Among the report's findings:
- African students, many of whom lack reliable Internet access, use agents to obtain basic information.
- South Asian students are most likely to use agents for help on obtaining visas.
- Chinese students are most likely to use agents if they are seeking to enroll in English language or other basic educational programs abroad.
- Indian students who have not studied outside of India are more likely to use agents than those who have already studied abroad.
Strayer Education, Inc., on Friday announced its purchase of the Jack Welch Management Institute, an online business college that is part of the financially struggling Chancellor University, a for-profit institution in Cleveland. Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric, created the college in 2009 with a $2 million minority stake in Chancellor. He is reportedly buying his share back to transfer the school to Strayer. Michael Clifford, a sometimes controversial investor in for-profits, launched Chancellor in 2008 on the platform of the ailing Myers University. Strayer will pay about $7 million for the business college, Reuters reported.
China is opening a new college that will be devoted to the study of tea, Xinhua reported. Officials hope graduates of the college will assume positions in sales, management and business development for the tea industry. The new college will award undergraduate degrees through the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University.